I like ramen. Like I really like ramen, and when I come across a nice ramen restaurant, I get really excited. So everyone, I’m proud to be excited to show to you the (delayed) review of Ramen Ikkyu:
Now I’m sure you’ve all heard of this notorious ramen stall. Maybe for good and bad reasons. The bad most likely being that for an extended period of time, this restaurant was only giving out a limited supply of ramen. You maybe heard of it from being one of the more unlucky patrons who received no ramen.
But maybe you heard the good stuff too, in that this wasn’t opened by your average Japanese chef but by Harunobu Inukai. A very talented chef and owner of Blancharu, a modern Japanese and French fusion restaurant. In short, this guy knows what he’s doing and to have opened a ramen store in a Chinatown food court (Shop F1A, 401 Sussex St, Haymarket)…this got me excited!
Now, the restaurant is really more of a stall and you pick up your food and sit in the public area (much like Gumshara) but the stall pops out with its wooden exterior decor and colourful flags. Greeted by a very enthusiastic worker she explained each of their special dishes and the first thing I noticed was that this was really reasonably priced. Very cheap and affordable, would make perfect for an after work or after uni/school treat.
For me on that day, I felt like a thick tonkotsu broth and after hearing about their Pork Rib ramen, I couldn’t resist! We also got the other popular Tokyo Soy ramen.
Now what you’re going to notice is that the price tag on this dish is almost double anything else on the menu. And there’s a very good reason for it. It was very good. And very filling. Firstly as you do with any ramen, you have to try that broth and oh dear, is this broth intense. It was thick but not gumshara-thick and the flavour of the pork was so good, it almost felt like a whole piece of pork was slowly caramelising on my tongue. Now take this and combine it with some of their freshly made ramen noodles, soft black fungus and bamboo shoot and you got yourself a full package. And oh yes, of course, the meat. The ribs come from a female pig instead of a male which gives it an extremely tender and sweetness to it. Cooked so well with a hint of sweet ginger to it, the match with the rest of the dish was great.
And at times I thought the soup was a bit too salty and heavy for my liking, made worse by the fact that it has no water supplied! But other than that, I really enjoyed this dish and I think it’s well worth the premium price.
Lastly was the Tokyo Soy. In contrast with the Pork Rib ramen, this dish was very light and the soup very clean and mild. The meat was incredibly tender and tasty with that fat giving off a slight crisp. In all, it wasn’t a very mindblowing dish. It was rather normal but it was a reasonable serving size and for $11.50, very affordable too. Choosing this over the pork rib really depends on how hungry you are!
So what’s the verdict? I liked it. It’s so easy to get to and it is very affordable. Also, Chef Inukai has finally decided to let loose on amount of bowls being served so you won’t get caught up on the limited supply! Also, free extra noodle servings! So if you find yourself with a little bit of extra broth and still a bit hungry, you can get some more noodles and relive the fun.
While the soup can get salty and heavy for their thicker options without any drinking water, it’s still a very good and quick fix for ramen. Definitely give it a try.